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Pacquiao: Culprit must be cornered, licked

Manny Pacquiao

Publication Date : 03-07-2012


When Manny Pacquiao was asked about his thick, powerful calves in the runup to the Tim Bradley fight, he snapped back with a sharp, if not very accurate, reply.

“How are my calves? Bigger! They feel fine.”

Pacquiao was replying to the famous author Gary Andrew Poole of Esquire and Time International.

Poole honestly wanted to know if Pacquiao would be pain-free against Bradley.

Poole had this to say on his worries:

"In the runup to Pacquiao-Marquez III last November, I heard the same rumors about personal distractions, overtraining, and calf pain. Pacquiao was expected to stop Marquez, a 6-1 underdog. But without the spring he normally gets from his calves, Pacquiao becomes just another fighter with limited defensive skills. Marquez, whose counterpunching style has always troubled Pacquiao, was able to catch the usually elusive Filipino with a variety of punches … To Freddie Roach’s horror, Pacquiao was incapable of moving to the right. Midway through the fight, as it became apparent that Pacquiao wasn’t on his game and that he might lose, he started complaining about the calves.”

There’s reason to believe, though, that Team Pacquiao had frantically tried to keep the problem from both fans and the rival camp in the runup to the Bradley bout last month.

In the final week of Pacquiao’s training in Baguio City, one scheduled morning jog had to be aborted. Pacquiao was already at Burham Park, all geared up, when everybody suddenly started packing up.

Reason given was a bothersome pain around the thigh area.
They had all the right and reason to hide the real problem.

In fact, Bradley had bragged he would have no problem once he pushed his bout with Pacquiao down to the concluding rounds.
Did Bradley’s trainer himself notice the abrupt deterioration in Pacquiao’s speed, sharpness and strength in the latter rounds of the clashes against Shane Mosley and Marquez?

Meanwhile, here at home, age and a visible slip in his speed and sharpness were singled out as the culprit behind Pacquiao’s below-par showing.

Wrote sportsman Manny Piñol in his column yesterday: “Watching Manny Pacquiao against Bradley was like watching the Pacman’s old fights—in slow motion. Visibly gone were the cat-like quickness and the agility of old. In the many instances when he could have rained his opponent with a staccato of punches from all directions, the boxer who was in the ring with Bradley could only throw a three-punch combination, two of which missed the target.”

Was Pacquiao’s performance vs Bradley a tell-tale sign that he is old? Piñol answered his own question:

“The Philippines leading musculoskeletal expert, Dr. Isagani Leal of the Center for Musculoskeletal Science Asia, who closely observed Pacquiao’s movements against Bradley, says leg muscle problems, which Pacquiao had earlier complained about—not age—slowed him down in his fight against the American challenger.

“I watched him and noticed that in the later part of the first six rounds, he started stretching and pumping his legs,” Dr. Leal said.

The Israeli-trained expert said the leg movements appeared to be mere skips and hops but they were actually manifestations of the tightening of the leg muscles which impeded Pacquiao’s mobility inside the ring.

“It was evident Manny was having pain in those legs. That explained why he did not move as much as he had wanted,” Leal said.

Leal, 45, swore that the massage therapy that Pacquiao goes through every time he suffers from leg cramps would not cure the malady.

“Modern musculoskeletal science has given us the technology to really probe into the problem muscles through ultrasound,” the expert advised.

Once identified, he said the muscles are subjected to a series of non-invasive procedures and therapy to loosen and cure them.

Leal, a devoted Pacquiao fan, said he’s willing “to do everything to help his idol get back to his old self and become again the most exciting fighter in the world today.”


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